Infinite Summer

Formed in the summer of 2009 to read David Foster Wallace's masterwork "Infinite Jest".
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 Post subject: Hal and talking
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 10:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:14 am
Posts: 12
What do you think is going in with Hal and speaking? The very beginning of the book, Hal is calmly telling the interview staff about himself and they are reacting horribly and then they restrain him in the bathroom. It seems more clear in this scene that Hal is either not actually speaking or not saying the things he is thinking he is saying.

More clear, than in other instances, the three I can think of so far are the "professional conversationalist" scene with his father, talking to his brother Mario in the middle of the night, and the Big Buddy session with the younger students at ETA. In all three of these instances, it seems that the people Hal is speaking with are actually responding to things Hal is saying. And Hal seems to speak more and more as time goes on. I dont have the book in front of me, but I think in the scenes with his father and his brother, there are times when Hal speaks and the other responds, and then there are times when the other is waiting for a response and doesnt get it. However, in the Big Buddy scene, there is none of this.

One of the films Himself made was a recreation of the professional conversationalist scene and in the description of it, (as far as I can remember) was like a father desperately trying to get his son to respond to anything that he is saying, and the son wont say anything at all. So that would be more evidence that Hal is not really speaking even though he thinks he is. But again, the Big Buddy scene. How does everyone he knows spend so much time talking to him if Hal never says anything back?

edit - not just the big buddy scene, more like the entire section, with the locker room scene as well


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 Post subject: Re: Hal and talking
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 11:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:52 pm
Posts: 41
Hal's communication problems presumably crop up some time towards the end of his senior year at ETA. The first scene is a college admissions interview, which, chronologically speaking, takes place after every other scene we've read with Hal in it.

EDIT
Forgot to address the Conversationalist scene. While it's true that Hal isn't "interfacing" in the way the Conversationalist/Himself(?) wishes he would, they pretty clearly understand each other. For instance, Hal points out that he's almost 11, not 14, and the Conversationalist makes a correction.


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